I’ve seen first-hand the devestation of a natural disaster in El Salvador (earthquake, 2001).  And the years of hardship & reconstruction that followed Hurricane Mitch (1998) in Honduras.  I know what life is like, and what it will be like in the Indian Ocean area for years to come after this disaster.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch the news for about 5 minutes.  Or hit your favorite news website.  On December 26, massive tsunami hit Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, and other countries that border the Indian Ocean.  The current death toll is around 33,000.  But many are still unaccounted for.  And more will likely die due to contaminated water supplies, and lack of access to food and medical supplies.

Entire towns have been wiped out.  Businesses destroyed.  Homes demolished.  Roads are blocked or washed away.  Communication lines damaged.  Life in these areas will not be normal for a long time.

But the good news is that positive things can happen in the wake of such tragedies.  Emergency relief is pouring in from around the world.  Christian organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse and WorldVision are some of the first responders to disasters bringing in food, medical supplies, water filters, and temporary shelters.

But these organizations don’t stop with emergency relief.  They stick around to help rebuild the communities.  In El Salvador, Samaritan’s Purse built 750 permanent homes in addition to providing 4,000 temporary houses and tent material for 8,000 families as well as many other necessities.  But even beyond long-term help, the presence of Christian aid workers has had a long-lasting impact on the communities.  Churches have been established.  Living conditions have been improved.  The doors have been opened for missionaries and local Christian leaders to work together to bring people to Jesus.

If you want to help these organizations to provide emergency supplies and establish long-term aid for victims of the tsunami, visit any of these websites:

Samaritan’s Purse – www.samaritanspurse.org

World Vision – www.worldvision.org

Food for the Hungry – www.fh.org

OK, I’m jumping off my soapbox now.